Ingredient Spotlight: Nutritional Yeast

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Hello! I am nutritional yeast. Also known as ‘Nooch.’ But please don’t call me that. You might know me as the funky flakey product with which vegans have traditionally anointed their popcorn. I have also known to lurk within an ersatz nacho cheese. My odour is reminiscent of marmite. Or maybe you don’t know me? Don’t be afraid.

In the past, perhaps I was too difficult to find. You may have seen me at health food shops or fair trade shops or organic food shops, and maybe you even thought I was a little bit elitist, oh so far from being the basic pantry staple to which I aspire. Perhaps this was even true, of a time. However, I want you to know that I have recently appeared at some Aldi’s so you can be assured that I have entered the mainstream. I have even been spotted in Didcot! Perhaps we will find ourselves together soon?

I am so very useful. You will see. 

Put a tablespoon of me (or two!) into a tomato-based pasta sauce and see how it is transformed. I can be like parmesan. I am so wonderful like this. 

Rub me onto oily vegetables and roast us together. Yum.

 

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I taste good on all of these. (Except one.)

 

Do you like my intensity? Scatter me over the aforementioned popcorn for a high-fiber snack. 

Dissolve me in a lentil soup for an extra boost of umami-rich flavour. I like to dissolve into many soups. So warm, so damp. 

Are you feeling more adventurous? Substitute me for some of the cheese in your cauliflower cheese. As we grow closer you may find you do not need the cheese at all. 

Enrich all your beans with my savoury flavour. I make a fine addition to taco night. Or in some vegetarian enchiladas.

Do you dare to discover what would happen if you stirred me into tinned beans and put me on toast… or a potato? Mash me.

 

vegan bean stew with mashed potatoes

Easy vegan mash = plant milk, vegan spread, couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast

 

I guess what I am trying to say is, do not be afraid of me. Do not be afraid to experiment. What is life, but one large container of yeasty flakes waiting to be sprinkled on whatever strikes your fancy? 

Here is a v. basic recipe to get you started.

 

Super Easy, Measurement-free

Beany Vegan Red Sauce 

vegan red sauce with beans

There’s no need to be precise with this. Add whatever veg you have on hand to bulk it out as needed. The version featured above contains grated courgette. 

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes, tops.

Ingredients

1-2 tins tomato of your choice (or one of those big glass jars of passata)
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
Olive oil – two glugs. Enough to make the base of the pan oily.
2 large garlic cloves
1 tin beans of your choice (preferably not chickpeas)
2-3 heaped spoonfuls of nutritional yeast
Generous sprinkle of ‘Italian Seasoning’/oregano/some such
Splash of red wine (optional)

Method

Sauté carrots and onion in olive oil, add garlic and herbs when the onions take on a little colour. When the garlic is fragrant, add the wine and reduce over a medium-high heat – this should take a couple of minutes, but really not too long. When the wine has cooked down substantially, add the tinned tomato/passata, beans, and nutritional yeast. Simmer until your accompanying pasta is done cooking. Salt as desired.  

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